- GS-2: Issues relating to development and management of Social Sector/Services relating to Education, Human Resources
- GS-2: Government policies and interventions for development in various sectors and issues arising out of their design and implementation
NIPUN stands for National Initiative for Proficiency in reading with Understanding and Numeracy.
NIPUN Bharat Policy is aimed at ensuring that children in the age group of 3-9 years are provided adequate support to acquire age appropriate reading and numerical skills.
Key Features of the Policy
The policy has been organised into three broad goals.
- The first one is ‘Maintenance of Good Health and Wellbeing of Children’;
- The second one is ‘Children Becoming Effective Communicators’; and
- The third one is ‘Children Becoming Involved Learners’.
The achievement of all these goals has been further divided into six stages, one each for the six years between the ages of three and nine. For all these six stages, the policy document provides for a set of learning outcomes to be achieved
Two stages of assessment have been provided for in the policy
- The first stage is ‘School Based Assessment’ – subjective assessment where the child is evaluated on the basis of observations being made by teachers, parents, and peers. It is meant to understand the specific inclinations of the child, and to make tweaks to learning processes accordingly.
- The second stage is ‘Large Scale Standardised Assessment’. This will be an MCQ based assessment which will be conducted by the NCERT to gauge the achievements of the education system by evaluating students using nationally developed standards.
What are the issues with NIPUN Bharat?
Concerns over Inclusiveness
- While the policy does recognise the need for creating an inclusive learning environment, the learning outcomes highlighted in the policy are uniform, with no specific provisioning for children with disabilities.
- Another point on inclusion emerges where children are supposed to learn to describe themselves and others. There is no mention as to whether the children will be introduced to the idea of gender fluidity at this stage or not.
Concerns over Assessments
- The effectiveness of school based assessment will depend a lot on the kind of investment being made in teacher training, development, and sensitisation, which requires funding.
- However, the policy doesn’t talk about any extra resource allocations being made for this purpose.
- The policy itself does not elaborate on the operating procedure for the NCERT while creating the standardized assessment.
- In ‘Standardised Assessment’, it may be challenging for NCERT to test proficiency in regional languages by taking inputs from regional actors.
Concerns over Accountability
- Overall, the policy goals are to be achieved by the year 2026-27 with intermittent checks and sub-goals set as milestones.
- It has to be noted here that since this is just a policy, there isn’t an elaborate mechanism to seek accountability, the only recourse being writ petitions, primarily mandamus, under article 226 and article 32 of the Constitution
The policy has taken on a task crucial for the upliftment of millions of children across the country. The only issue in the formulation of the policy is its dependence on political will and sincerity for its implementation.
Connecting the dots:
- New Education policy 2020
- Right to Education Act